Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 26, 2013

Selling the great outdoors

As a child growing up on Signal Mountain, Todd Henon spent most of his time outside. Whether he was working, or hunting, or fishing, his father always had him and his siblings outdoors doing something. As an adult, Henon can now go inside, but he still spends as much time as possible in the open air.

“I love and appreciate the outdoors. That was part of what my dad passed on to me,” Henon says.

Even when working, Henon, a Realtor with Keller Williams on Signal Mountain, can still be found outside. Although he lists and sells homes in Tennessee and Georgia, and is happy to meet with clients indoors, his meetings don’t always involve four walls, a conference table and chairs. Rather, he and a buyer might be surrounded by trees and sitting on a stump, or looking across dozens of open acres.

Mutal understanding of nature establishes an instant connection between Henon and his clients who are outdoorsmen. “We can walk the ridges together, and both of us will know the deer signs, or the biology of a pond, or the food plots the previous owner put in place,” he says, looking through a window at the trees tucked against the back of his Signal Mountain home.

Henon’s knowledge of the outdoors have led buyers and sellers to seek him out to manage deals that involve his rare expertise. For example, he handles lot and home sales for the Dunaway Hunting and Fishing Club, a group of 40 outdoorsmen who collectively own a 7,000 acre swath of land on the Cumberland Plateau. He’s also worked with Blue Springs in Catoosa County, a smaller community of sportsmen, some of whom are third generation owners of the strictly recreational property.

“These clubs are a growing trend in the South because some people don’t want to support a large property by themselves. When you do it as a group, you share the cost. I love being involved with the sporting communities. It’s the coolest thing,” Henon says, the grin of a boy who rode on his grandfather’s shoulders during rabbit hunts spreading across his face.

Henon also an affinity for transactions involving legacy properties, land passed down from one generation of a family to the next. “Land in its natural state has value. It doesn’t have to be developed, and the timber doesn’t have to be cut. Rather, it can be about the memories you lace together as a family,” Henon says.

Henon also likes working with developers to buy land and establish its best use, and enjoys taking care of families who have specific needs. “My payday doesn’t involve my check; my payday is when a buyer and I have found the perfect property, whether it’s a home, a piece of land, or a farm,” he says.

Henon recently filled a tall order for a physician who needed to be close to the hospital at which he works but also wanted to hunt and fish on his land. More than that, he wanted a place that would be safe for his family and located in the school district he and his wife preferred for their children.

“When those two things come together – the buyer and the perfect property – I’m thrilled. I love helping people achieve the lifestyle they want,” Henon says.

In the ten years Henon has sold real estate, word of mouth about his integrity, negotiating skills and knowledge of the area has brought him many clients. In June 2013 alone, he was the top producing agent on the Greater Chattanooga MLS. While success has its rewards, it comes with a price, as Realtors who work nearly around the clock know. To offset the hit to his schedule, Henon has formed a team that assists with certain deals and provides support at the office.

One Realtor handles new construction, while another assists buyers. Every member of Henon’s team is focused on providing the same quality of service as their leader. “Real estate is never about one deal; it’s about building relationships for the future,” Henon says.

Henon speaks with the wisdom of someone who knows how to sell a product but none of the salesmanship. As a former builder, he understands the ins and outs of homes and how they’re built, and is quick to dissuade a client from purchasing a house he believes has issues. “My construction background serves me well. I can take an inspection and say, ‘These are genuine concerns we’re going to have to revisit when you sell the house.’ I might benefit financially from the sale, but there’s no win in that,” he says.

Having a local background in construction has another plus: Henon is on a first name basis with many key people. “When a client has a question, I can get the tax assessor or the soil tester on the phone and get an answer,” he says.

Henon has been selling one thing or another since he started peddling church pews as a young man working for the family business. Ten years later, he started building and selling homes and remodeling churches. Another decade later, he jumped to real estate because he was ready for a change. “I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Henon says. “This is how God wired me.”

Henon also appears to have the circuitry of a family man. He married his childhood sweetheart, Beth, two years ago after they reconnected after years of being out of touch. “We didn’t ever want to be apart again,” he says, the grin of a man who recently married the love of his life spreading across his face.

Henon also has a son and two daughters from a previous marriage. Like his father did with him, he made sure they spent a lot of time outdoors growing up. His efforts to pass on his family’s love of nature were successful, as today, three generations of Henon men enjoy hunting together.

“He’s always available to his clients,” his wife says. “But I admire and am amazed by how he’s prioritized our family.”

Many of Henon’s work days begin at 8 a.m. and continue until the same time that evening. But he’s in his element, so he accepts the rigors of his schedule as part of the ground he walks. Like his love of the outdoors, real estate is in his blood, and one could no sooner separate Henon from his work than from the place he calls home.

“I’m blessed to be able to do what I love,” he says. “That’s a wonderful thing.”